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seat belt tensioner wont' lock 1986 chev

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New User

Aug 28, 2014, 12:53 PM

Post #1 of 3 (1279 views)
seat belt tensioner wont' lock 1986 chev Sign In

HI, I have a 1986 Chev Van T30. it's actually has a Chev van front and a Bluebird passenger compartment in the back.
Yes it's a school bus (was) 350 cu in motor, 166,000 original Kilometers (103,000 miles) ....seriously.
when seated in the bus, seat belt clipped in, when we pull quickly on the belt the 'tensioner' (if that's what it is called) does not lock and prevent the belt from coming off the roll. This means in the event of an emergency (collision) the driver is going to hit the steering wheel.
We've taken the belt off the van, inspected what we can with the cover on, looks clean inside.
the lead weight is hanging free and all plastic parts seem to be in order.
While trying to figure out a fix I've been pulling on the belt while fiddling with the lead weight.
If I move the weight a 1/4" toward the back of the bus the tensioner appears to work just fine. so the plan was to adjust the whole unit on a bit of an angle so the weight was positioned 1/4" differently but the alignment wont stay in that position unless I drill new holes in the seat pedestal.
Before we drill out the rivets that hold the cover on the unit to see what else I can find I figured I'd write this forum.
uploading photos is proving to be a problem. I can send some to you if you request.

Anyone have any ideas?

Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Aug 28, 2014, 1:36 PM

Post #2 of 3 (1269 views)
Re: seat belt tensioner wont' lock 1986 chev Sign In

That's not how the seat belt works. There is a swinging pendulum in the retractor that swings forward with the inertia of an impact which locks the belt. Simply pulling it out fast will not test it. It requires a sudden stop.


We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Aug 28, 2014, 2:48 PM

Post #3 of 3 (1262 views)
Re: seat belt tensioner wont' lock 1986 chev Sign In

Didn't think so either. Just checked a GM belt and all inertia. Been ages but inside a barb swings (I think) and grabs the belt and may even with hard braking otherwise you get freedom to move vs MUCH older belts.
If the belt if by Blue Bird I couldn't really say but TMK GMs didn't do that nor others. Rear seats could be all different if equipped at all on this but some cars don't (of the vintage anyway) do that inertia thing. Check it if worried by hitting brakes hard and feel it grab but don't think it's wrong so fast as it may take more than that?

Seriously - in decades only ONE seat belt ever known ever failed short of some abuse. Just one rear didn't unfasten for anything so old lady's grandchild was cut out with nail clippers and it worked! Smart lady! No accident just couldn't get the kid out!


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